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Author Topic: Scholarships and AA  (Read 6143 times)

dawsme5

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Scholarships and AA
« on: April 23, 2009, 12:15:46 PM »
So I've accepted a spot at UNC for the fall with no scholarship offers after turning down substantial money awards at higher ranked universities (though UNC was still cheaper since I'm in state). I was looking on LSN and saw a lot of people who were going to UNC as well with scholarship offers but with much lower gpas and lsats than me (15 points lower on the lsat). All of these people were minorities and they have received Merit Based awards since the other financial awards have not been given out yet.
Really, I understand Affirmative Action. I understand why it is in place and why it is needed, and for the most part I support it. I understand that racism still exists and if me not being awarded a scholarship is the only form of "racism" I ever experience then I will gladly take it over what other people have to deal with. But I don't understand why it's "fair" (sounding really whiny here. I apologize.) Especially for a graduate program. Most students going into law school are paying their own way and we're all going to come out with the opportunities to get the same well-paying jobs (isn't that why a lot of people go to law school?). We all need that money whether we are white, black, hispanic, whatever. Why is the color of your skin a merit for which you get a scholarship? Am I being really ignorant in not understanding this? I mean, obviously this is coming as a personal result from feeling like I deserved to be considered for a scholarship offer, but I just feel especially in the case of Merit scholarships that there should be a certain academic standard implied. I'd just like an open discussion. Really, I'm not going to argue about it. If anything, I want to understand.
Thank you!

Blue08

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Re: Scholarships and AA
« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2009, 01:17:03 PM »
"Why is the color of your skin a merit for which you get a scholarship?"

For the very same reasons it's a criterion for admission to a school, the offering of a job, etc.

I don't see a distinction. You're bringing this up, as you said yourself, as someone who felt you deserved a merit scholarship but didn't receive one. Yet you see other, minority, applicants with lower numbers who have received merit awards. How is this different from someone who was denied admission altogether at school X who sees other, minority, applicants with lower numbers getting accepted to school X? You mention that "we all could use that money." Indeed, but couldn't we all use those seats in the class as well?

I'm not endorsing that last rhetorical, but I think it's the logical extention of what you've said about merit money. I'm guessing you wouldn't endorse it either.

One of the many, and I think valid, arguments in favor of AA is that URMs score lower on standardized tests (likely caused by low SES backgrounds caused in turn, at least in part, by the systemic discrimination that is one aspect of what AA seeks to rectify) - as a group - than do whites. Low SES is correlated with both minority status and lower test scores. If anything - as a group - minority applicants do have a greater need for that money. Or so goes the argument.

I think if you accept AA generally, and the reasoning underpinning it, it would be inconsistent to say that awarding scholarships on the same principle is wrong. Perhaps the minority applicants who receive these merit awards, while less qualified than many whites who don't, are more qualified than their cohort of other minorities admitted to that school. If that's the case, I think it lends even further credibility to the idea - within their respective group they did stand out, and therefore deserve a scholarship.

Just my thoughts.

Matthies

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Re: Scholarships and AA
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2009, 01:43:07 PM »
I think one of the things people fail to realize is that AA is intended to make up for past discrimination, not present discrimination. So you have never been racist, or own slaves, me either. But just like social security paid in today goes to old people who did not save their money in the past. You are a legacy as are we all of the racisms in the past and other things the generations before us did to screw up the world or the planet.

Or like the trillion dollar debt we are leaving our kids so we can go back to having 2 SUVs in each driveway and the old economy of spend now pay for it later. AA is to make up for the generations of minorities before our time who could not even attend law schools or be lawyers, much less get $ to do so, hell for a long time they could not even borrow money for school, even if they got the highest numbers possible.

Its not possible to go back in time and grant all of them admission now that they are like 70, but we can grant admission to more of their offspring then we used to make up for it. AA is a completely backwards looking program to right past wrongs, not present, wrongs. Hence its discriminatory because of discrimination of the past.  When minorities reach parity it will stop, just like admissions and scholarships for the original benefactors of AA, women, stopped when they reached parity.

Donít like, tell your grandparents to pay for your law school cause their generations actions cost you a lot of money.
*In clinical studies, Matthies was well tolerated, but women who are pregnant, nursing or might become pregnant should not take or handle Matthies due to a rare, but serious side effect called him having to make child support payments.

LawDog3

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Re: Scholarships and AA
« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2009, 02:46:23 PM »
I have to chime in here. I am an "A" student, and always have been my entire life. I am also an 85th % scorer on the LSAT. And I am Black and male! That said, whites who oppose AA can make their lives much easier if they wrap their heads around a few concepts.

1) And this point is admitted in Powerscore Bibles, Standardized testing IS racially, ethnically, seocioeconomically, culturally and sexually biased. While test-makers have tried earnestly to rid the exams of these biases, they admittedly have not. The quest continues at schools like Berkeley, where research has begun to develop a better LSAT.

2) Your definition of "merit", if we are to believe that more impressive statistics and objective indicators are the best measure of "ability", suggests that Mike Tyson (with his brute strength, punching power and 1st round knockouts) was the greatest fighter ever, Dominique Wilkins and Shawn Kemp (with their quickness, reflexes, bench press, and 40+ inch vertical leaps) were both better ball players than Larry Bird (which is ridiculous), that the very White Dan Marino (and other greats like him), who essentially flunked the Wonderlic Exam (the NFL's equivalent of the LSAT), should have gone undrafted, and, more tangibly, that the students with the best grades and test scores make the best lawyers, which is also ridiculous, as has been proven time and again.

If grades and scores were as predictive as many Whites seem to believe, schools could just fill their classes by admitting as many of the top scorers and graders as they can and let the trickle-down effect begin. At some point, likely around the bottom of the top-50 schools, that would be it; anyone else who wanted to go to law school be damned.

Another consideration is the relative conditions under which grades, test scores and soft factors are acheived. Here's a story from yesterday. I walked into a Starbucks to order a drink but badly needed to use the restroom. Two baristas (or "partners", as Starbucks calls them) politely, but firmly, advised me that I absolutely could not enter the restroom without making a purchase. As I had intended to order a drink anyways, I ordered, having no problem with this policy, and understanding its roots. The problem came afterwards, when a strikingly beautiful woman entered the store with a kind request to use the restroom - the only one in the store, which I happened to be occupying at the time. While I handled my "simple" business, the woman tugged repeatedly at the door, even though an "occupied" sign was clearly visible and the baristas who had attempted to buzz her in KNEW, full and well, that I was using the restroom.

When I returned to retrieve my drink, the woman entered the restroom. As I sat down, my girlfriend informed me that she had spied the baristas quoting the woman (who happened to be white) the store policy against restroom use w/o purchase, but had allowed her an exception. I was livid, and the clueless baristas who could not (or refused to) understand, acknowledge and validate my disgust exascerbated the situation with their apathy. No drink was offered, no apology was made...NOTHING.

These types of episodes, while seemingly minor, play and replay themselves out tens of millions of times every single day in the lives of American ethnic minorities, especially Blacks. In fact, if you ask any Black person (NOT native African) whether they experience discrimination on a daily basis, they will affirm. Moreover, as a survival technique, and for our own sanity, we accept it as a part of our lives. But it shouldn't be. And repeated instances of this type of "subtle" racism and discrimiantion exacts a toll on minorities that eventually causes high stress, hypertension, heart disease and other health-related effects. Take a look at the correlative studies done by the New England Journal of Medicine on racism and physical health.

The former institution of chattel slavery, though still impactful, is not our priomary concern, and neither is Jim Crow. Those institutions helped create the conditions URM's live under today, but those conditions could be changed if people desired it badly enough.

I will note that, as a result of Jim Crow and its after-effects, neither of my parents were well-educated; they never read books to my brother or me, we never received a newspaper, they never taught us history. Even my father's birds and bees conversation (when I was eight) went awry, as he tried to explain that I was born b/c his sperm "mixed with my mother's sperm" lol. Luckily I knew better. So 100% of my intellectual/academic stimulation came from outside of the home.

Most importantly (and timely) though, my concern is Starbuck Baristas who selectively enforce rules, police who target Black men like me when I am making a simple trip to the supermarket, repeatedly rude treatment when patronizing public accommodations and businesses, inferior, budget-strapped schools with poorly trained, apathetic (or stressed-out), grossly underpaid teachers, worn out textbooks and poorly maintained IT systems (if they exist at all), housing discrimination that forces Black families into geographic instability, current (and recently past) job discrimination that effects minority homes in ways unseen, such as forcing URM teens to work and contribute to the family income, while forgoing much of their studies. I am concerned with the current gentrification that infests minority neighborhoods with drugs and makes rich white and Latin men richer anmd turns would-be Black and Latino college men into jail inmates.

So what does this have to do with URM's abilities to do well in courses and take exams, you say? If you ask that question you are either so clueless that you certainly do not deserve to be admitted to law school, let alone receive any scholarship. Put it together. Ask what you'd do if you grew up under those conditions and were still expected to perform to the level of Whites, most of whom never experienced ANY of the things you experienced.

On the flip-side, ask yourself what do you do with students like ME, who perform at a high level despite growing up under those conditions, manages to give 15 years of dedicated community service, performs well enough at his jobs to be named a top salesman years on end.

This raises another point: soft factors are not "soft" when it comes to URM's, nor should they be. They are very telling to adcoms, and (fortunately and rightly) become the deal-breakers when pitting qualified individuals of different ethnicities against each other.

To Whites who keep saying, "'Less qualified' URM's are getting seats and scholarships over me." You have NEVER seen a competitor's file, so why the assumption(s)? You have no idea WHO beat you out for your seat, who you were compared against or what their "qualifications" were.

Even if you do have access to such info, you need to re-define your definition of merit.

Try these two fictitious candidates:

Skyler: 24 year-old White male, Political Science major from USC with honors, 3.6 Cum GPA (3.65 major GPA), 165 LSAT, middle/upper-middle income family, decent softs include volunteering with CityYear for two years after graduation...in New Orleans! Class Secretary as a senior at USC. Football walk-on, second-string linebacker and defensive co-captain on Pac-10 champion. Permanent injury forced him to forego NFL draft. Letters of recommendation are glowing but vague in spots; the best one comes from coach Pete Carroll. parents are teachers, including, one, a professor at a university. No conduct issues. Gets rejected at Stanford, waitlisted at USC but gets into in UC-Davis Law with a 50% scholarship, UCLA with no money, and Texas with 33%.

Jovan: 26 year-old Black male and recent graduate who dropped out of school repeatedly during his first two years to work full-time at the bank, English and History double degree candidate from UCLA. 3.58 cum GPA (3.72 Major GPA after rough freshman year), has 160 LSAT, made Deans List eight of twelve quarters in residence. Named to UCLA Vice-President's List his junior and senior years. Volunteered for eight years at a non-profit youth agency targeting at-risk youth, including serving as Education Director for while attending school. Also a motivational speaker with Choices Education, touring urban middle schools. Co-director and performer in domestic violence awareness project. Parents were high school dropouts. Runner-up for student body vice president at UCLA. Campaigned for Barrack Obama at the Pasadina office. Member of L.A. chapetrs of the Urban League and NAACP. Has one arrest for misdermeanor assault during freshman year...now expunged. LOR's strong, extremely detailed, glowing, and recently written. Gets admitted to USC and UCLA with full scholarships, admitted to Berkeley w/75%, admitted to Stanford with 40% scholarship w/full scholarships his second and third years for GPA above 3.2.


This is more like what happens when URM's get admitted over supposedly "more qualified" White or Asian candidates, save for the arrest.

As an adcom as Stanford, knowing that you have 15 times as many Skylers as Jovans, who do you admit? The eight-ball you must keep your eye on here, is that, despite Skyler's very admirable acheivements, Jovan has overcome much more in his life, and has performed at least equally well or, arguably, much better, all things considered.

Even if Jovan's LSAT score were 156 (4 points lower), he'd still outscore approximately 70% of all test takers. Given his background, which lacks any academic stimulation at home, his accomplishments are amazing. Skyler's, though very good, are to be expected; they are unremarkable. Moreover Jovan has demonstrated a long commitment to community service, as curiously, many URM's do, despite their socioeconomic hardships.

Jovan less qualified than Skyler? No.
    

Jamie Stringer

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Re: Scholarships and AA
« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2009, 03:02:59 PM »
Quite simply, schools use merit-based aid to attract and yield applicants.  Perhaps the school wanted to ensure they actually got a certain number of URM applicants to attend? 
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zippyandzap

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Re: Scholarships and AA
« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2009, 06:29:51 PM »
I really don't understand the OP.  I think AA is a complicated issue and that there are points to be made on both sides (don't kill me!!!), but it seems to me that if you support AA in the decision process you'd have to support it in the aid process as well.

LawDog3

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Re: Scholarships and AA
« Reply #6 on: April 24, 2009, 03:43:01 AM »
"Why is the color of your skin a merit for which you get a scholarship?"

One of the many, and I think valid, arguments in favor of AA is that URMs score lower on standardized tests (likely caused by low SES backgrounds caused in turn, at least in part, by the systemic discrimination that is one aspect of what AA seeks to rectify) - as a group - than do whites. Low SES is correlated with both minority status and lower test scores. If anything - as a group - minority applicants do have a greater need for that money. Or so goes the argument.

I disagree with this argument somewhat. Standardized exams are still culturally biased. For example, verbiage that is more commonly spoken in majority White schools and households, though not the target of the LSAT, still hampers comprehension for ethnic minorities, and even the test makers know it. But they are either apathetic or feel handcuffed to do much about it. Furthermore, URM's are less likely to take an exam course OR purchase sufficient practice materials before their first attempt, and we purportedly re-test at a lower clip when compared to Whites and Asians. 

Economics and intergenrational oppression are certainly a part of the equation, as are laziness and weakness on the part of many ethnic minority parents, who are still looking for handouts, and passing on to their children a welfare mentality. I hate that fact about my people, but its true. And URM students often do not put out the necessary effort to succeed on standardized exams.

My disagreement stems from this: If someone would beat home the point that they need a minumum of 6 months of strong prep, more of them would score in the upper percentiles. i think effort and preparation has much to do with the success levels, or lack thereof. But how do we ensure access to the preparation ? Many URM's need additional training before the LSAT's, such as improved vocabulary and working with varied sentence structures. And they need to study under rigid conditions that allow for repeated testing.

We may not have fancy boats to fish in the lakes as we please, but we now have our poles and bait, and can certainly fish from the shore, i.e., we should take advantage of the opportunities we do have. Given the right amount of determination and savvy, anyone can acheive in America; it's just THAT great! Too many of us do not have that determination, like prisoners who don't realize the bars have been removed, even if the world outside still won't be too welcoming.

Almost every male in my family hates school, and most have dropped out and never sniffed college. And that was their fault. In the 1950's I wouldn't have condoned it, and I don't condone it now. I do not respect that, especially in Black people. We can ill-afford to take for granted one of the two most historically important keys to wealth for Blacks, education (the other is land ownership).

But neither should our society ignore that conditions still exist that make life much tougher for ethnic minorities.


 

mbw

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Re: Scholarships and AA
« Reply #7 on: April 24, 2009, 09:45:49 AM »
There's also a very direct issue here:  If URM students are not provided with merit aid, they will have to take out loans.  While Stafford loans do not take credit score into account, this is not the case with GradPlus loans, which require either a good credit score or a co-signer with a good credit score.  URMs (of which I am one) have traditionally not had the same access to opportunities which build credit and/or the education which helps maintain good credit.  Also, we have less access to co-signers with good credit, for similar reasons.  In order to provide equal access to higher education, there has to be equal access to funding.  Merit awards attempt to level that playing field.

I'm in a lynch mob?  I had no idea.  This is really worrying; I really don't have time for another extra-curricular activity.

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Blue08

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Re: Scholarships and AA
« Reply #8 on: April 24, 2009, 12:05:44 PM »
"Why is the color of your skin a merit for which you get a scholarship?"

One of the many, and I think valid, arguments in favor of AA is that URMs score lower on standardized tests (likely caused by low SES backgrounds caused in turn, at least in part, by the systemic discrimination that is one aspect of what AA seeks to rectify) - as a group - than do whites. Low SES is correlated with both minority status and lower test scores. If anything - as a group - minority applicants do have a greater need for that money. Or so goes the argument.

I disagree with this. Standardized exams are still culturally biased. For example, verbiage that is more commonly spoken in majority White schools and households, though not the target of the LSAT, still hampers comprehension for ethnic minorities, and even the test makers know it. But they are either apathetic or feel handcuffed to do much about it. Furthermore, URM's are less likely to take an exam course OR purchase sufficient practice materials before their first attempt, and we purportedly re-test at a lower clip when compared to Whites and Asians. 

Economics and intergenrational oppression are certainly a part of the equation, as are laziness and weakness on the part of many ethnic minority parents, who are still looking for handouts, and passing on to their children a welfare mentality. I hate that fact about my people, but its true. 

I'm not sure I understand your disagreement. Seems like we're saying the same thing.

I completely acknowledge that standardized tests are culturally biased. I was not insinuating that the score disparity exists due to an innate lack of ability, or anything sinister like that. I was just stating that the rift is there, and I think it's there primarily as a result of SES. The "verbiage" you speak of that shows up on these tests probably is "more commonly spoken in majority white schools and households." But I think that's much more a result of being affluent than it is a result of being white.

More Money > Better Education > Know.More.Words.

Once SES is controlled for, the score disparity evaporates.

I think there's something to be said for that.

LawDog3

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Re: Scholarships and AA
« Reply #9 on: April 24, 2009, 02:03:13 PM »
"Why is the color of your skin a merit for which you get a scholarship?"

One of the many, and I think valid, arguments in favor of AA is that URMs score lower on standardized tests (likely caused by low SES backgrounds caused in turn, at least in part, by the systemic discrimination that is one aspect of what AA seeks to rectify) - as a group - than do whites. Low SES is correlated with both minority status and lower test scores. If anything - as a group - minority applicants do have a greater need for that money. Or so goes the argument.

I disagree with this. Standardized exams are still culturally biased. For example, verbiage that is more commonly spoken in majority White schools and households, though not the target of the LSAT, still hampers comprehension for ethnic minorities, and even the test makers know it. But they are either apathetic or feel handcuffed to do much about it. Furthermore, URM's are less likely to take an exam course OR purchase sufficient practice materials before their first attempt, and we purportedly re-test at a lower clip when compared to Whites and Asians. 

Economics and intergenrational oppression are certainly a part of the equation, as are laziness and weakness on the part of many ethnic minority parents, who are still looking for handouts, and passing on to their children a welfare mentality. I hate that fact about my people, but its true. 

I'm not sure I understand your disagreement. Seems like we're saying the same thing.

I completely acknowledge that standardized tests are culturally biased. I was not insinuating that the score disparity exists due to an innate lack of ability, or anything sinister like that. I was just stating that the rift is there, and I think it's there primarily as a result of SES. The "verbiage" you speak of that shows up on these tests probably is "more commonly spoken in majority white schools and households." But I think that's much more a result of being affluent than it is a result of being white.

More Money > Better Education > Know.More.Words.

Once SES is controlled for, the score disparity evaporates.

I think there's something to be said for that.

We do agree. I just disagreed with part of your statement, as I had read it. But you have made very good points.